Polish president in Athens to attend Arraiolos Group meeting

President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda during the welcoming ceremony by the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pawlopulos. Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

President Andrzej Duda arrived in Athens on Thursday night to attend on Friday the annual meeting of the Arraiolos Group, which gathers the presidents of countries whose prime ministers take part in EU summits.

This year's meeting of the Arraiolos Group will be devoted to increasing the European Union's resistance to economic and social crises, as well as to European security issues.

In Athens, the president will highlight the successes of the Polish economy and social policy in recent years, presidential aide Krzysztof Szczerski told PAP. "He will also encourage a discussion on the contemporary model of the welfare state, whose goal is even and equitable economic development," Szczerski added.

During a planned debate on the threats arising from uncontrolled migration, the Polish president is to emphasise the role of Poland as an EU's eastern border country and its openness to economic migration from neighboring countries, as well as Polish assistance provided to the countries of southern Europe in protecting their borders.

Duda will also point out the need to protect the Common Market against internal protectionism by some countries, as well as the need to eliminate double standards in the quality of products offered on the European market.

At a session devoted to European military security, the president will speak about the importance of maintaining close cooperation between the EU and the United States and highlight the benefits of an increased presence of NATO soldiers, including US troops in Poland and in other countries of the so-called eastern flank for the security of the whole of Europe.

A joint declaration is foreseen at the end of the Friday meeting.

The Athens event will be the fifteenth meeting of the Arraiolos Group, founded in 2003 on the initiative of Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio. The name comes from the city in Portugal where the first meeting of the presidents of Austria, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Hungary and Italy took place. Later, Slovenia, Croatia, Estonia and Bulgaria joined the group, followed by Malta and Greece. The President of Ireland will also attend this year's meeting.